When Characters Are Snarky…

I had to set up another home office in my Nevada house. While we still haven’t decided just what to do with it, we know that we’ll be here off and on for the renovations at the minimum, add to that author things, family things and we have a very full agenda in Nevada.

Now this isn’t a surprise but what was is the fact I actually had to create my own space here. See, I have a lovely office that my husband built for me early in my career. It has a fabulous desk with a huge picture window that allows me to look out at the world. It was one of the things I really, really missed five years ago when I moved to Vienna.

Today it’s being occupied by my son and his significant other as they build their fledgling Amazon business. They are doing quite well but there isn’t a corner in the room anymore which is mine. Their stuff is spread out over two rooms of the house and right now, my old desk is their command center.

Again, I tried to use the dining room table and again, I couldn’t. It’s big enough but the chairs are old and this time, there was another problem. When I did start to write, I found my characters were not only belligerent but downright snarky at times.

Harry-#2---ResizedSnarky used to be a term I only applied to Pup Harry. I mean, can’t you see the snark in his eyes? His ne’er’do-well smirk. He even has a blog named Call Me Snarky Boy from when we first got him. And now, my characters are behaving in the same way?!?

At first, I couldn’t believe it but the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if it wasn’t because of me not having a desk. The only really thing I’ve ever required when writing has been a desk in a quiet spot as I found out I was more productive that way. When I have no distractions, I can pound out the stories. Yet, here my characters were telling me they weren’t talking.

With two novellas due in the next month or so, an edit and another proposal to get to my agent’s desk, I understood I needed to do something and fast. Thank goodness for Amazon as I went shopping. After going through page after page of desks and not finding something I really wanted, I decided to look at the local consignment and antique stores.

I thought I wanted what is called a secretary desk with a pull down surface. Finding one immediate that I loved for the intricate detail, I excitedly talked to my husband who is currently in Vienna. He wanted the youngest to look at it to make sure we could do the repairs. Once the youngest saw it, he nixed it immediately because he thought if I put any weight on it at all, the whole thing would end up in my lap.

Not good. So we looked at two tables. One I really loved the wood but it had some damage too and while it didn’t matter to its purpose, it was more than I wanted to pay. Walking through the big pieces one last time, I spied a thin cherry table with two drawers. Calling my son over, I had him test it and we both liked it. I offered the owner a price I thought fair and was happy he took it.New-Desk-Picture-Resized

My son picked it up later that day and it took me about an hour to set up as it won’t hold much. Just a computer, some papers and it will be a charging station for all our phones and tablets. The drawers will hold pens, paper and the ever necessary post-its. I was ready to go but still I held back. Would my characters continue to be snarky? Or would they finally open up?

And I’m happy to report, they are singing like the birds! Thank goodness.

What about you? Do you ever have moments as a writer when the characters won’t talk to you? And readers, do you ever see characters that you wished were better written and more talkative?

I’d love to hear your thoughts…see you all next time!

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

Getting New Things

Today is one of those interesting days where I can look back at the month and be really grateful for all that life has given me. I know I’ve mentioned looking for a new home and trying to get more writing done before. Well…this month…I made both a reality.

We have been blessed enough to have the ability to have two homes and it’s lucky too since my dear husband will be working in both these places. Both homes are rather modest in size and what they have but the fact that one is in Nevada where it’s hotter than hades right now versus the more temperate climate of New Mexico at 7300 feet, makes me jump for joy. Trust me, mountains are the way to go.

It couldn’t come at a better time as I’ve recently discovered, if I get too hot, I just might pass out. Frankly, I think that comes with the territory of getting older…which is another thing that I did this month…and on summer solstice too. It was 115 degrees here that day and boy, I just couldn’t wait to be gone from this summer heat. It’s really sad to realize your childhood home isn’t good for you anymore. But we just might want this place to escape a cold winter in New Mexico, so we’re holding on to it.

The new house will be more of a project as we’re turning a duplex, that had been a single family home at one time, back into that single family home. I have some great plans for it and once my DH heard about them, he was amazed what I felt we could do with the place. Think master bedroom retreat and you’ll get the picture.

Front of HouseWith 2000 new workers coming into the New Mexico area we’re moving to and only 144 homes on the market when we were looking, our choices were limited. We lost our first choice in a bidding war to find the one we learned we were approved for just last week. What is awesome, it’s the same floor plan as the other home but we have to add a driveway and a garage.

Not a small feat but something that we know is doable. And the home ended up cheaper, with more updated items and a seller that was willing to realize his baby needed work. Unlike the home where the owner tried to convince those bidding for it that none of the inspection fixes really needed to be completed. Here’s the house in it’s present state. We’re making a front porch by connecting the two small ones and will be stuccoing the home with the flat type normally found in northern New Mexico for a more farm-style look.

LetterboxLoveStories400x600And as if a house wasn’t enough, I have a new story that just hit the pre-order stage on Friday. I am really excited about the story, Sealed With A Kiss, as it represents a few things for me. First, there’s the fact that this is the first new story I’ve had out there in 3 years. Second, it’s in a genre I totally love and that’s time travel. To find out more about this wonderful anthology that I’m a part of, just click the picture to be taken to the Amazon page. What’s even more exciting…it’s on pre-order sale of just $0.99…but that’s not going to last long with the price going up to $2.99 on July 11.

What exciting things have happened in your life this month? Read any new books? Write any new ones? I’d love to hear all about your adventures…see you next time!

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

The Truth About Deadlines and Life

Woman-Reading

I’m on deadline right now and for me that is awesome. Why? Because it’s been nearly 5 years since I’ve been on any kind of deadline as most of my writing was on hiatus due to me being in Europe. Now that doesn’t mean I didn’t write. No, it was quite the opposite. While there I finished 4 self-published works, got an agent and did proposals galore.

What happened was much more subtle in the fact that I’d never went to my epublisher and said, ‘Give me a deadline’ because I hadn’t sent in anything new, proposal or otherwise, for the whole time I lived abroad. I’ve often asked myself why and I realize there is no clear cut answer. I guess I just didn’t want to be boxed in or something in a country I was having a hard time adjusting to at the time.

So, when a group of friends of mine were planning to do an anthology this year, I asked to be a part of it since I wanted to get used to having deadlines again. Oh, lordy, what was I thinking? Our planning started in February when the packers came to box up my office and shut me down. I had a tablet that wasn’t good for writing and though I’d packed composition books and pens galore, there was never a good time to do anything with them.

Then we arrived on the east coast and the planning was still going on in early March. I put in my two cents, I agreed to all the deadlines and once all the relatives were visited, we arrived home with my new Surface computer. ‘This was it’ I told myself and waited for inspiration to hit me. Nothing. I went to a convention or two, met my agent and one of my BFF writing friends, Gini Koch, and felt a little of the inspiration I so desperately craved.

Then remember last month when I said that we weren’t sure where we were going to live? Well, we basically got our marching orders to move to New Mexico. I went for a visit and we saw approximately fifteen houses, yes – it was three long days of great houses, bad houses and some that we needed a plan for making it our own.  Then we found one we fell in love with and wanted it.

We lost it and went two houses down the street, to one with the exact same floor plan, less land but a lot of the fixes already done. It was $25k less than the first, so we immediately put in a bid even though it has a bunch of things that need to be done to it. Thank goodness we got that second one because I don’t think I can go through this whole thing again. Keep your fingers that it will all work out.

Fast forward to last week and my looming deadline. Notice I said looming. This story that I’ve been loving and plotting and planning to get done is in the final throes of getting a few beta reads and a final edit. The bad thing is that I need to have it all turned in by tomorrow night midnight and I’m not sure I’ll make it because life has got in my way over and over again.

Everyone has been so wonderful about the fact I decided to do an international move and this at the same time while planning yet another move. Since Monday, I’ve wondered if I’d lost my mind committing to something while life is so stressing. But a funny thing happened that I’d forgot all about.

Even though I am very stressed, my writing is thriving. It’s like I’m hyper focused on it when I’m writing and I see nothing but it. The words are flowing like never before, meaning I’m doing the 1800 words an hour thing again. I am getting a chapter done in an hour instead of a day. I’ve got the plot all in my mind and it’s getting laid down like bricks on a path. The pantser in me is coming out again and suddenly, all I want to do is write. What’s even better is that I’m doing it well.

Life has a way of making sure all we want happens exactly when we need it to happen. No sooner, no later. Yes, I’m more stressed than ever but look at what that stress is helping to produce.

More stories than I’ve seen in five years. And it’s a good thing for me to realize, a little of the right stress never hurts.

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

End of Summer Funk ~ @oddlynn3 #LynnCrain #amplanning #PCers

By this time next month, fall will have begun and summer will be fading into memory. But in this moment, I can say I have what I call an end of summer funk.

It’s the time right as school starts, when one is planning out their next moves and how to accomplish them. It is also the time of new beginnings, maybe it’s the end of a special summer or even just starting a new school. Every fall, something begins and something ends.

This year, it has made me reflective and almost sad. My kids are all grown and out of the house, we’re in Austria as life moves on. I noticed it in the pictures of my grandkids at their first day of kindergarten. They were full of happiness for new adventures. Full of those things that had somehow slipped away from me over the hot summer.

With the heatwaves here in Europe, I felt a little more defeated and aimless in my efforts. Then I saw the boys and realized that maybe I wasn’t so aimless but more lost because of my lack of focus. Heat with humidity does that to me. And I just didn’t realize how much until this year. But somehow, somewhere, I know I was thinking along the right path because of a few steps I’d taken earlier in the month.

Before any of the above happened, I had a moment of clarity where I ordered planning materials designed to help me focus and maintain my momentum. I have a lot of writing to do this fall through next spring and unless I can keep on task, it won’t get done. Now this is hard because I can’t use anything from here because it’s all in German. I don’t know enough of the language to think in it and that’s what one needs when using a planner.

I was in luck as my husband’s work was having a working group where a lot of Americans come to Vienna for updates and training. These are people I knew well and who frequently deliver things I can only get from the US. So I went on a hunt for a planner that would do a writer justice. Now, this will help me plan my time, my projects and my priorities, which always seem to get skewed this time of year. When I do a plan then work the plan, I stay focused and on track.

While I’m a pantser at heart, doing this type of focusing will always help me write better. Once I’m on this track, I will start doing outlines that help me in general. I tend to deviate away from most outlines because my characters talk to me differently when I actually do the writing but at least I have an idea of where I’d like them to end.

Yeah, characters sometimes – wait, revise that – many times will not go where I think they should go. That is the number one reason I will remain a pantser because I can’t force them to do what I want any more than forcing my kids to do something either. Characters are living things and if I can just plan little things, names or likes or dislikes, I’m at least ahead of the game.

For me, it is the life planning of my day, what projects I want to do and how I plan to do them is what keeps my writing career on an even keel. And I was extremely blessed to have found something at Amazon from the group Tools4Wisdom called a Month-Life-Planning-Agenda because that’s what I needed. I was immediately impressed with the cover because it’s a trail through an autumn forest. I love walking through places like that.

Planner-Cover

Then I looked at the pages and saw a Goals page where I could put in my individual projects, namely books, into perspective. This would help me tremendously because I could plan for the whole year. And for me a year runs from September to August because I guess I’m still on the school year or government plan. It just seems to work better for me.

Goal-Page-#2

The next page I saw was the Essential Goals page. This page is gold because it lets me name a number one priority for the month then I can add some other smaller items to be finished. Every item is accompanied by a why and how accomplishing that goal will add value to my life. While I’d never thought of my writing in that manner, I could see where it would be beneficial to my overall plan.

Goal-Pages

Then comes the daily pages where you actually set out to do the work. The time increments are in 30 minutes and start at an early 5 am then don’t end until 9 pm. Just perfect for a writer since we do work at all times of the day. Now, you can also flip that so it starts at 5 pm and doesn’t end until 9 am. It all depends upon when you work best. I work best first thing in the morning then I get a second wind later in the afternoon. Normally, I need my coffee first before I do anything. Weekends you have hour increments and not as many.

Day-Pages

Each day has a place for Top Priorities, Secondary Priorities and other. You also have a section for Vision, Purpose and Action. All these are necessary if you want to remain focused and totally on task. This is something I definitely needed as I’m always at my best when I plan. So I ordered it.

Priority-Page

The bad thing was that I had to wait a couple of weeks before it would be hand delivered to me. I decided I’d use those weeks for reading, watching movies or shows, critiquing and trying to do some organization. This plan worked pretty well since it was still very hot. At least for a while, then the rains came. Sigh.

Finally, the day arrived where I was getting my planner. My anticipation level was high and I wanted to get my hands on it to get planning. The first thing when I got it was I marveled at its size as it was twice as big as I thought it would be. This is good since I wanted lots of room to put items down. I felt energized and somehow accomplished. I was holding in my hands the instrument needed to take my writing career to an even higher, more focused level. I loved the feeling just holding it gave me.

I thanked my friend for delivering it and put it in my backpack. Pulling it out once I was in my office, I realized I needed to clear a larger space for it. When my planner is open next to me is when I get the most from it so that I can frequently refer to it when I see myself deviating from it. Yes, there will be some days that it’s going to be too structured for me as I’m more of a free-bird type person. But for the long haul, this was definitely the way to go for me as it has already pulled me out of my funk, forcing me to embrace a wonderful well-planned future.

What about you? Do you need to plan major things out or can you accomplish your goals with little forethought? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. I’ll keep everyone updated at my weekly blog column just how using the planner is going, My So Called Writing Life, and hopefully, some of you will join me there.

Until next time…

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

The Meandering Writer

Scotland-Swing-Resized

I’m late and apologize for it. Then again, I’m always late and I recently read an article as to why. It seems that while I know time is important, it isn’t the only thing important in life. Apparently, people who are late make more time for those important things. Hmmm, I thought, maybe I do, maybe I don’t.

But while on a walk today with my husband, who kept asking me if something was wrong because I wasn’t walking normal speed according to him, I had a revelation. It’s something I’ve always known but am just now putting into perspective. I’m a meanderer. I take my time, I smell the roses. I want to see everything, do everything and want to enjoy it. So I don’t rush a thing, I meander through something to absorb it all.

Now, you may think this is odd for a writer to wander through life, meandering through, taking one’s time. But meandering is an age old tradition. The Grand Canyon was made by a meandering river who cut down through the top soil into the hard rock. It took millions of years to do so but just look at what a little meandering can do.

Much of my writing is that way. The pieces that I feel are my best are also the ones that I’d write a little on every day, set aside then come back later to them. I’d make sure the setting was perfect, that the characters acted true to themselves and a host of other things because I was striving for perfection.

Notice I said striving. Nothing is perfect and we as writers need to realize this. We need to make things the best we can make them then hand them over to others to help us find flaws we’d overlooked. Once they go through our critique groups the story will go to our agent if we have one. Then it’s back on our desk for another once-over before it goes to an editor.

If we’re not all worn out by the process, we’ll start it over again. If we’re lucky, sometime we can do this at a fast pace, sometimes a little slower but always meandering through the parts that need to be meandered through. Taking time to get something done isn’t a flaw but a trait that should tell the world we want to put our best foot forward. We want to give you the best story possible for us to give.

And if I have to meander to be a better write, I’ll take meandering any day.

So…are you a meander? Or are you someone who likes to go through life a little faster?

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

Teaching An Old Dog ~ @oddlynn3 #LynnCrain #PCers

Autumn-Tree-RS4Web-600x514There’s a saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Well, I’m here to say that learning, be it a human or a dog, is a life-long experience and one that can’t be turned off. Fall is the time for new classroom beginnings. It’s a time to reflect on if a class will help you do something better. Writers by nature know that learning can enhance what they put down on paper, or screen in this case.

I love to learn and I love to help other writers do the same. This year, I decided that since my husband was going to be on a five, yes count them as I did say 5, week business trip spanning November and December.

At first, this made me want to cry because I’m in a city where I know few people and most of those are associated with his work. Many of those will be with him on that same trip. Then there was the fact that one of the most important holidays, American Thanksgiving, would occur when he was gone. It’s been years since I spent a Thanksgiving alone and I didn’t want to make this the first but again, I have little choice in the matter. So far, it’s just me and Pup Harry but I have hope that it will turn out to be something better.

By deciding to start taking some classes, I had to see where I stood and where I wanted to go. My field of study when I was in college was Nursing and Geology then I added computer science by getting a professional certificate and almost a Masters degree in Computer Management. I was just a couple of classes shy when I realized that being stuck behind a computer coding or managing the geeks, this is said in a good way with utmost respect, wasn’t really what I wanted to do.250x226

This time around, I knew that it had to do something with my writing. It could include writing classes themselves or classes on research. I signed up for a lot of them…probably way too many…but so far, it’s been fun. The first writing class was one where I had to write and revise a whole book in a month. That one is still going pretty well but I have to admit, I was totally burned out after the writing part and have been very slow in the revising part.

The other classes I’ve been doing are more on the science side since that appeals to me. The plan is to start going back to write the things I love and that is sci-fi/fantasy with or without romance. Then there’s all things paranormal as well. I can practically write those with my eyes closed but I have some ideas where I felt my science needed to be a little stronger. Therefore with that in mind, I’m taking Immunology, which is kicking my butt, and Epidemics. Both are reminding me of the things I’ve forgotten over the years about the human body and all the biology involved there. I’m also taking a water class, some planetary astronomy classes and a few more thrown in.

The point is that like I previously said, learning is a life-long process. Whether you know it or not, learning happens every day. You won’t notice it until you realize you’re doing something slightly different than before. Usually, it’s because it’s more efficient and your subconscious helped you to make it a part of your conscious being. Biology is interesting that way and immunology is reminding me just how interesting.Vienna-Fall-Resized-4-Web

If I can learn new things via the classroom route, anyone can. This can keep you more engaged with new things, reinforce older learning and keep one’s mind sharp, fresh, new. How are you all doing with your fall regime? Taking any classes? Truly, I’d love to hear about them. You can reach me at lynncrain@cox.net with all the great things you’re doing this fall. See you next month!

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

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